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How Jeremy Corbyn could make himself and Labour electable

By Andrew Eborn and Richard J. Hillgrove VI | Columnists

April 19, 2017 | 6 min read

Theresa May's party may be pleased with her new political position but the lady’s sudden taste for turning might yet take the biscuit in Brexit Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn

She could well have spectacularly misjudged the true mood of the nation when she announced plans for a snap June election.

After repeatedly going on record to pooh-pooh an early poll, the opinion pollsters proved too tempting to resist.

The reasons against were all pretty sound. May didn’t want to swap her kitten heels for flip flops. She wanted to be seen as a prime minister who can stick to her word and she didn’t want any instability during the Brexit negotiations or the unpredictability of an election race.

Many Tory party members believed that Labour could never get their act together before the next scheduled election in 2020 so they might as well carry on, business as usual, and still win with a decent majority.

But the polls are massively in her favour right now, suggesting a tantalising Tory majority in an early vote that would significantly strengthen the government. It was just too much temptation even though, as we all know, pollsters can no longer be trusted. Just look at Brexit.

Far from being the nail in the coffin of dead duck Jeremy Corbyn, this could be the chance for him to rise and lead Brexit Britain.

That’s the key. The Labour leader must man up and return to his authentic, radical roots. If he were to get back to his pro-Brexiteering truth, he could win the day. Going against his core Brexit values and backing Remain merely compromises his power.

We saw that Corbyn has cojones when he dressed down an ITN interviewer over unfair coverage earlier this month. Someone was tanked up on testosterone that day – and it wasn’t the journalist!

When it comes to u-turns, Corbyn and May are playing 1-1. Corbyn is right to welcome the opportunity this snap vote affords him but he must now dare to have the courage of his true convictions, and that includes backing Brexit.

His personal popularity may be at a low ebb right now but the only way is up. After all his extreme trials and tribulations as leader, it's time for an Indiana Jones-style resurrection from the temple of doom. A deadly sure aim on the short run up to 8 June could see a ‘real’ radicalised left-wing politician catapulted straight into No 10.

The prime minister says that while the country is “coming together” Westminster is not. That might be wishful thinking on her part. The reality is we’re a nation deeply divided across the board.

Brutal Tory policies on education, welfare, the NHS and housing are taking a painful hold on the country. Corbyn has immediately signalled his intent to campaign on housing, education and the NHS.

Further divisions can be seen in the devolved nations. The Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, said an early election wasn’t in the national interest. He called the timing odd.

Meanwhile as Stormont faces even more uncertainty, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams tweeted a ‘thumbs up’, saying: “Another chance 2 vote against Brexit & 4 progress."

And Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, wasted no time in calling the early election a “huge political miscalculation” on May’s part. Hot on the heels of Sunday’s anniversary of Culloden, Scots are already calling to arms for another rout. This time it’s the rump Scottish Tory party that’s in the nationalists’ sights.

Any refusal to take part in televised leaders' debates in the run-up to this vote – as Number 10 sources have indicated – can only be seen as pure arrogance on May’s part. It’s yet more ammunition to charge Corbyn’s campaign canons.

Marry all this dissention at home with memories of May holding hands with a US president, the smoke screen thrown up by the mother of all bombs and deteriorating US relations with North Korea and you could argue Corbyn has all the ammunition he needs to lead a victorious charge on Downing Street.

Theresa May expects brand loyalty as she catwalks her smug “I know I’ve got it in the bag” look, but that kind of blind brand following is a mere blast from the past.

The public is just as likely to show her their other cheeks. We hear of a mass mooning planned for the Donald’s state visit to the UK following the lead of protesters in Chicago who mooned their president.

Red faces all round? There may be. Or maybe a red flag flying in Downing Street will go some way to sparing our blushes.

A radical, authentically pro-Brexit Corbyn just might be bang on target.

Bang On to Andrew and Richard on Twitter and email: @andreweborn @OctopusTV @6Hillgrove

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